Hi there, my daughter is away at university and I have on many occasions sent her the Chocolate and Orange Loaf Cake from Kitchen (p308) which is always well received, thank you! I was just wondering if I could modify this cake so that she does not get bored. It is an ideal cake to send as it is quite robust, lasts well and obviously tastes wonderful! I am thinking along the lines of say vanilla and chocolate chip (what should I replace the orange juice with?), or maybe a dried fruit version? Ideally this cake will need to be able to be kept well for a few days. Any help would be much appreciated. Very best wishes.
It is possible to vary the flavourings of a cake but when you are replacing cocoa with flour you need to remember that cocoa absorbs a fair amount of liquid so you you may need to reduce the amount of liquid added and slightly increase the flour. We would suggest trying 50ml/3 tablespoons sour cream instead of the orange juice, plus some vanilla extract and replacing the cocoa with 45g of flour. You need a slightly acidic ingredient to react with the bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) in the recipe so sour cream is preferable to milk, or you could use buttermilk or plain yogurt. Chocolate chips should be fine, though try to get small chips and toss them in some of the flour, as they could sink to the bottom while the cake bakes.
Gingerbread cakes also keep very well and the Guinness Gingerbread from Kitchen (p305) or the Sticky Gingerbread from Christmas (p201) can be baked in aluminium foil trays so you can wrap the tray with the cake in it when you send it. Banana loaves usually keep for 4 to 5 days so we would also suggest looking at Nigella's Banana Bread recipe in Domestic Goddess (p33) which contains sultanas and walnuts too. At the bottom of the recipe there are also instructions on how to make a chocolate chip version of the loaf.